Witness murder case ends in mistrial

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by Adam Walser

WHAS11.com

Posted on October 26, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 26 at 9:16 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A mistrial has been declared in a high profile murder trial after defense attorneys say they were not given key evidence.
 
Steven Pettway is charged with the murder of Troya Sheckles, who was gunned down in Shelby Park days before she was scheduled to testify in a murder trial.
 
Prosecutors say they did not plan to introduce any of the phone calls in question as evidence and said they contained little more than speculation.
 
But Steven Pettway's lawyers argued they should have received the tapes a long time ago, so they could follow up on leads possibly pointing to a different killer.
 
“There is a sea of information I just received which is explosively exculpatory,” said Pettway’s attorney Leslie Smith as she asked Judge Geoffrey Morris for a mistrial.
 
When the trial resumed Friday after a two day delay, Smith addressed the court, saying new information she just received could possibly prove her client is innocent.
 
The new lead came from a jail house phone call involving a witness.
 
“There's an unidentified female who gets on the phone who names who did it,” Smith said, before playing the tape in court.
 
 “They said it was some dude named "Swing” or something... "Sling",  "Bling" I don't know. But they say he got off a truck in Sheppard Square,” said the unidentified caller in the recorded call.
 
The call was one of 266 defense attorneys just received Wednesday.
 
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said it provided the defense with an investigative brief regarding the calls, but had no plans to introduce the calls themselves as evidence during the trial.
 
“It's my duty to give the defense an opportunity to investigate this further. Of course, there were a number of phone calls. It wasn't just one phone call,” said Judge Geoffrey Morris, in what is likely to be his final trial as a Senior Judge.
 
“We could turn over phone calls from dozens of people for hundreds of hours. It is going to have any relevance? Ultimately, I don't believe it is,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Van De Rostyne.
 
The prosecutor says he's confident Pettway was the person who fatally shot Troya Sheckles, while she was sitting on a bench at Shelby Park in March of 2009.
 
Pettway allegedly murdered Sheckles at the request of his friend Dujuan Hammond, who is also charged with the murder.
 
Sheckles was scheduled to testify against Dujuan's brother Lloyd Hammond.
 
Sheckles told police she witnessed Lloyd Hammond murder her boyfriend William Sawyers in 2006.
 
Pettway was indicted for Sheckle's murder last year.
 
His case is scheduled for trial again on May 7, 2013.
 

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